ROSCOE VILLAGE — Lane Tech was one of dozens of CPS high schools were handed later start times for the 2015-16 school year in a bid to save the cash-strapped district $9 million in transportation costs.
But the school at 2501 W. Addison St. has found a way around the 9 a.m. start for the majority of its 4,000-plus students: a split schedule.
Acting Principal David Gilligan announced Thursday that most of Lane's students, specifically those in grades 9 through 12, will start their day at 8:05 a.m. and be dismissed at 3:20 p.m.
Students in seventh and eighth grades who attend Lane Tech's Academic Center (LTAC) will begin at 9 a.m. and be dismissed at 4:15 p.m., along with students enrolled in the school's special education cluster program. These are the only students receiving bus service to Lane.
"This schedule was created to make the best of the unfortunate situation that currently exists at CPS," Gilligan posted to Lane's website.
"I have contacted student transportation and made multiple requests that start time be changed from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. I have been told that a change to the bus schedule is not possible," he stated.
“CPS is working with principals to help manage the transition to new bell schedules," said district spokeswoman Emily Bittner.
High schools including Lake View, Amundsen, Jones College Prep and Walter Payton College Prep have all been shifted to the 9 a.m. start. Principals at Jones and Payton have complained about the switch, saying it will not only disrupt sports and extra-curricular activities, but for students who have lengthy commutes, it will leave them with precious little time for anything other than homework.
In his statement, Gilligan acknowledged that LTAC parents share those same concerns.
"I have heard from many of you about the proposed change of start time for LTAC," he wrote. "Lane Tech College Prep staff is committed to continue providing extracurricular activities for all Lane students. The staff is busy revising schedules to ensure LTAC students have opportunities to continue to take high school classes."
Gilligan is filling the hole left by departed principal Christopher Dignam, who took a job with suburban Deerfield. Lane's Local School Council has been unable to reach agreement on a permanent replacement for Dignam.
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